Joe Hill [King],
Better Than Home
If you've read anything about White Eagle Coffee Store Press, you know that it's a micropress dedicated to providing publishing opportunities to unrecognized writers, both through solicitation and competition.
The Long Story Contest, International (formerly the Long Fiction Contest), which awards the A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, has been offered since 1992 to afford serious writers an opportunity to have their work judged in competition solely on merit. The stories are coded and read without knowledge of the authors' names or backgrounds. The contest's final judge is always another writer who has agreed to be published by the press, sometimes by solicitation, often as a previous winner. This process gives the competition an integrity and variety different from that in much commercial publication; it also discovers talent.
In 1999 the writer Adria Bernardi, who had won in 1998 with In the Gathering Woods, selected Better Than Home by Joe Hill as the contest winner. Better Than Home is a wonderful story narrated by a seriously neurotic boy, who realizes how strange his behavior is but can do nothing to change it. His warm relationship with his baseball manager father is in every way the heart of the story. Working with Joe Hill during the publishing process was a delight. He was the kind of young talent we were founded to discover.
Like all books from this press, Better Than Home was published as a limited edition chapbook. Everyone who entered the contest received a copy. Additional copies went to the author and cover artist; quite a few went as freebies to promote the author. About 150 remained and have been given to students or sold from time to time, until Spring 2006, when Joe Hill's success with 20th Century Ghosts generated interest, especially because Joe kindly directed people here from his website. The publication of Joe's first novel Heart Shaped Box has generated more interest. In the meantime, internet conversation began hinting that Joe is the son of Stephen King. This press began to get orders for large numbers of 1st Edition copies of Better Than Home, which we filled for a discounted price from the usual $5.
With the Time, USA Today, and other stories about Joe, his 'full identity' is now public, and some people are trying to corner the very limited supply of 1st editions still available. We'd be happy to sell this wonderful book inexpensively for people to READ, but not for mere speculation. This press has always lost money supporting unknown writers, and everyone we've published deserves recognition for talent, just as Joe has done. Keep in mind that, to this date, his family name has never gotten him published.
We've debated what to do to supply books to serious readers of Joe Hill without ignoring genuine collectors. So, here's the plan.
For Readers: A First Edition, Second Printing is now available. It took several months to get a new printer on board and to get duplicate plates of the cover and text.
For Collectors: We will sell individual First Edition copies of Better Than Home, packaged with the 1st. Ed. of Adria Bernardi's, In the Gathering Woods and the 1st Ed. of Katherine Glover's Raped Diaries. More About This Collection.
For Both: There are some copies of Better Than Home 1st Edition, 1st Printing left. You can purchase one for $110., plus $7.00 shipping (Priority Mail w/ tracking). Inquire first for availability.
White Eagle Coffee Store Press